Mike Smyth Show, CKNW April 18, 2023
Using legislation, Premier Eby is attempting an “anti-democratic” ramming through of a failed social housing model in Kitsilano despite an existing BC Supreme Court challenge. Former Vancouver Councillor Colleen Hardwick and Dr. Julian Somers discuss this dangerous and “outrageous” precedent for British Columbia.
This 13-story high rise at Arbutus and 8th will be a homeless housing tower with 129 units and onsite drug injection use, approved by the city despite overwhelming majority opposition. Downtown Eastside residents and Indigenous groups are being given first priority for units.
With a building contract linked to the former Mayor Gregor Robertson, the tower is directly across from a children’s school and a women’s shelter for those fleeing violence and undergoing recovery and rehabilitation.
Dr. Somers points out that this model of “congregate housing” is a failure despite massive spending with little accountability, proven by recent audits. Look at the similar style Marguerite Ford housing project in Olympic Village where the community faced significant police calls and disruption. (These statistics were only revealed through a Freedom of Information Act request).
Somers also notes those housed would receive no mental health supports geared to reintegration to society, or job search, or family re-connection. His own 20 years of research confirmed when people were dispersed into neighbourhoods of their own choosing that resulted in a 71% lower crime rate with medical emergency visits cut in half. But the NDP government ordered this research destroyed just after the findings were presented.
Hardwick compared this failed housing model to: “I’m a smoker and I want to quit smoking so I’m going to move into a building where 129 people smoke and think I’m going to stop?”